Beta Reader Courtesy

beta reader, writing, author, book

When it comes to beta reading, I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I’ve done beta reading for others, and others have beta read for me.

It’s happened to me twice now, times I’ve offered to beta for people. Their work wasn’t actually ready for readers. The last time it happened, I waited two weeks. She kept sending out emails that she was making some changes, she was waiting on the editor, waiting on this, waiting on that. After two weeks, I was going back to work from my medical leave. I sent her a polite email explaining that when I had offered to beta, I was home from work and had time, and that I would no longer have time to give her book the attention it deserved as I was going back to work. She never emailed me back, never said, “Thank you for offering!” No, she deleted me from the Facebook group she made me join with the other betas and never spoke to me again. And yes, my email actually was polite. There was nothing nasty about it. Was I annoyed, however? YES.

Is it just me or is it common courtesy that when you ask for beta readers, that implies you’re READY for beta readers?

So, a few things if you’re looking for beta readers/are offering to beta for someone:

  1. Be considerate of the other person’s time. This goes for writers AND beta readers. Authors are eager to get feedback on their work and betas don’t want to have to wait around forever to get said work.
  2. Which brings me to my next point: authors, be patient. Don’t expect a beta to finish your book in just a few days. They have lives, too.
  3. Authors, be clear on what kind of feedback you’re looking for. If you don’t want feedback on grammatical/spelling errors, specify that.
  4. Beta readers, respect what the author is asking for.

What else would you add to this list?

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3 thoughts on “Beta Reader Courtesy

  1. Authors should provide a small amount of feedback to beta readers. I like to send comments every few chapters. Let your beta reader know they are on target or you would like more feedback on character development, pacing, or whatever…

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  2. Pingback: 6 Tips for Editing Your First Draft | Word Nerds

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